In the previous two pieces, we looked at video content and digital brochures as a way to promote your event. The last in the series is a look at mobile applications. Blackberry really started the smartphone trend, but the iPhone revolutionized the smartphone with the development of their app store. Between Apple’s store and Google Play, there’s an easy method of distribution. There’s an app for everything and there should be one for your event.
Why Have an App?
Mobile applications have changed the way we access content. Instead of going to a website on our phone, we access the app. It shouldn’t be any different in the way we experience an event.
The event agenda is placed into the palm of the attendees’ hands, literally, by allowing them to download the app to their device. They are able to personalize and experience the event in their own way and it can be what your imagination (and budget) allows it to be.
Event apps ought to incorporate this content:
- Scheduler – Allows attendee to navigate sessions and choose the sessions they want to attend. Once session is selected, it places it into the scheduler
- Sponsors – Outlines all of the sponsors of the events
- Maps – The maps show the floor plan of the exhibition hall and even surrounding areas of the city
- Photo Gallery – Allows for taking of and uploading of photos during the event for sharing
- Exhibitors – Should give a list of all of the exhibitor at the event along with descriptions of their services & products
- Social media – Emphasis on social integration. Allowing the attendee to integrate their social networks by either tweeting or posting status updates from the app is a recommended tactic. Bigger events will have an associated hashtag (#), or if it’s your event, establish the hashtag to generate buzz.
You or a third-party have developed the app, now….how do you let people know the app is available? Luckily, there are an adequate number of ways you can get the word out:
- Social Media – You have your followers on your social channels that would love to know your app is available. Some timely social media posts a few times a week prior to your event will give them the chance to download and get their preferences setup.
- Email – Don’t let your email list gather dust. They’ve subscribed to your newsletter or opted in for a reason. Include your app availability in a targeted email or in your next newsletter.
- Website – Use the real estate on your website to promote and distrbute your app. If you use Apple’s App Store or Google Play, make sure to give clear directions on where they are being directed and provide instructions on how to download.
The app is completed, it’s been downloaded and the event is here. Your job is done, right? Wrong! It would be sensible to bring someone from marketing (possibly a social media specialist) to the event to handle issues should the app crash…yes, I know, perish the thought but it can happen.
If your app is overloaded and experiences a crash, don’t panic. Here are some tips on how to manage the crisis:
- Have a plan – Before heading into the event, make sure to have a plan of attack for such an incident and establish points of contact.
- Monitor social media – That’s where attendees are going to voice their frustration first, so establish a social media hub. Take a look at the comments, what’s being said and confirm there’s an issue.
- Acknowledge – The worst thing you can do is stick your head in the sand in hopes it goes away. Send a tweet using the event’s hashtag that you’re aware of the issue and even make a post on the event Facebook page. Establish the perception that you are ahead of the game and on the road to fixing the app.
Attendees want to make the most out of their experience and putting them in control of their experience will delight and encourage engagement and interaction. If you have an in-house developer, utilize their time to create the app. If you need to enlist the help of an outside source, let Experient help design, develop and deploy your app to ensure a perfect event experience. Contact us at 800-935-8333 and let’s get the conversation started.
What are your experiences with event apps? Have you developed your own?